Review Roundup: GYPSY at Bay Area Musicals - What Did the Critics Think?
Bay Area Musicals presents the timeless 6-Time Tony Award-winning masterpiece GYPSY. Inspired by the 1957 memoirs of legendary burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee, GYPSY features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. Bay Area Musicals' production of GYPSY runs from November 9 - December 8, 2019 at San Francisco's Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102).
The cast of GYPSY features Ariela Morgenstern* as "Rose," Jade Shojaee as "Louise," Tia Konsur as "June," DC Scarpelli as "Herbie," Emma Berman as "Baby June," Chloe Fong as "Baby Louise," Jean-Paul Jones as "Tulsa," Elaine Jennings as "Tessie Tura/Miss Cratchitt," Olivia Cabera as "Mazeppa / Hollywood Blonde," Glenna Murillo as "Electra / Rose Understudy," Mark Robinson as "Uncle Jocko / Mr. Goldstone / Cigar / Herbie Understudy," Ernie Tovar as "Weber/Pastey," Amber Lee Wunderlich as "Newsboy," Dakota Colussi as "Newsboy," Kayla Yee as "Newsboy," Juan Castro as "Kansas / Ensemble," Benjamin Nguyen as "L.A. / Ensemble," Philip Leyva as "Yonkers / Ensemble," Cassie Grilley as "Agnes / Esnemble," April Deutschle as "Geraldine / Ensemble / Louise Understudy" and Veronica Ortiz as "Marjorie May / Ensemble / June Understudy."
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Eddie Reynolds, Theatre Eddys: For many reasons but all topped by Ariela Morgenstern as Rose herself, Bay Area Musical's Gypsy: A Musical Fable is a sure-bet to send toes-tapping, voices humming, and big smiles repeatedly grinning as the company does full justice and more to this musical giant among the Great American Musicals of all time.
Steve Murray, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle: [Matthew McCoy's] stellar production of one of America's finest showbiz backstories is full of heart, commitment and high-quality talent. From the 10-piece orchestra, to each chorus member to the strong leads, this Gypsy starts off Bay Area Musical's fifth season with a bang. Ariela Morgenstern delivers a stunning presentation of a woman burdened with abandonment issues and unresolved potential.
Kedar Adour, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle: Of those five major characters, DC Scarpelli has the thankless role of Herbie who is in love with Rose despite all her faults . . . and she has many. He carries off the role with great skill and an occasional off-key note that, actually, is appropriate for the part. However this staging of Gypsy belongs to Morgenstern who has most of the show stoppers as she belts them out and captures the audience with her singing yet remains an unlikeable classic "stage mother." Her final opus of "Rose's Turn" with her name in gigantic red lights almost brought the audience to their feet.
Douglas Konecky, SF Theater Blog: When was the last time you left a musical actually singing the tunes? For us, the night before last. Go feel good. Bay Area Musicals has a winner on its hands.
Karina Hall, Theatrius: As Gypsy, Shojaee delivers a thrillingly seductive, genuine performance. Morgenstern's intensity, power, and skill captivate us and draw us into her heartbreak.
Grace Li, SF Weekly: Ariela Morgenstern complicates the character, bringing a performance that is venomous when Rose is cruel, empathizable when Rose finds her original purpose obsolete, and undeniably admirable when Rose fights tooth and nail for her children. Morgenstern delivers the closing number, "Rose's Turn," with unhindered force.
Kate Tinney, The Daily Californian: Ariela Morgenstern delivered a fabulous performance with electric charisma and an attitude to match. The fantastic performers onstage were accompanied by an equally phenomenal band upstage, conducted by Jon Gallo. Bay Area Musicals put on a show for musical theater lovers both new and old to enjoy. From the period costuming to the stellar vibrato of Morgenstern's belt, by honoring the source material, Bay Area Musicals succeeded in the first show of a season that's just beginning.
Carol Canter, Travel Examiner: The lovely Jade Shoajaee rises from the awkward young Louise to the elegant stripper with perfect pizzazz, while Ariela Morgenstern plays Mamma Rose with all the gutsy, charming, loving, selfish and cringe-worthy craziness of a complex character easy to admire and despise. [Ariela Morgenstern] was an emotional powerhouse strutting, singing and dancing across the stage. No wonder the crowd rose in a standing ovation.